Started seeing this this morning in Apple Mail. I have one of those exclamation point error indicators next to "Inbox", with this error message when I click on it:

There may be a problem with the mail server or network. Verify the settings for account “IMAP Account” or try again.

The server returned the error: Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure).

This is in Snow Leopard. I'm using GMail IMAP, and I am way below the size quota - I've never heard of there even being a bandwidth quota.

I'm also not getting mail from the same account to the mail app on my iPhone.

EDIT - a month later I'm seeing this, and I'm thinking of just switching Mobile Me.

EDIT AGAIN - Making community wiki. I stopped seeing the problem once I updated Snow Leopard to the latest version, but since others continue to see it...

[Update] I'm seeing this problem in 10.6.4, randomly showed up. I tried all the suggested fixes with nothing.

8 Answers 8


This page could possibly answer that question

Especially the comment from Rob Ardill saying:

If you are attempting to sync large attachments via IMAP and it continually timesout/retries, this can cause you account to rack up significant usage and subsequently lock you out of IMAP/POP3 for 24 hours.


This is not a permanent solution, but it will solve the problem momentarily:

  1. Fill out this unlock captcha form.
  2. Try again accessing your email through IMAP.
  3. If you have the problem again, go back to #1 ;).

Fixed in 10.6.2 http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3874

  • 1
    Not sure; I am still having this problem and run 10.6.2.
    – avernet
    Jan 8, 2010 at 22:23
  • The release notes do indeed claim a fix for 'an issue in which Mail reports "Account exceeded bandwidth limits" for some Gmail accounts', but I still had the problem with same symptoms on Mac OS X 10.6.6.
    – Palimondo
    Jan 29, 2011 at 23:28

FIX FOR Gmail IMAP + Apple Mail - “Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure)”

10.6.4 Mail 4.2

Read and tried all the fixes posted on various blogs but to no avail until......

  1. Quit Mail,do no log in for at least one day, INSTEAD use internet to access gmail
  2. fill out https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha
  3. Reopen Mail -IF the mailbox give presents as a never ending spinning dial then proceed to step 4.
  4. REBUILDING the Mail mailbox where messages are missing or can't be opened. a.MD>USer>Library> Mail b. Move the Envelope Index file to a different location, such as your desktop. c.Move any folders in ~/Library/Mail/ that begin with "Mac-", "Exchange-", or "IMAP-" to a different location, such as your desktop. d.Open Mail. Mail will reindex all messages. This process may take several minutes depending on how many messages you have in your mailboxes.
  • Moving "IMAP-" folders would probably cause Mail.app to re-download the messages from server, as this is where they are stored locally.
    – Palimondo
    Jan 29, 2011 at 23:31

I had a problem similar to Stephanie--my mac mail stopped loading my main gmail account a month back, and then my iPhone and iPad started intermittently giving me an error msg for that same account saying wrong username/password. Apparently, the problem was that the imap server thought my account was being accessed by too many connections, and thinking it was under attack be hackers, locked my account.

So I deleted the acct from all three devices, unlocked it using the CAPTCHA (see links below), and reinstated the account to my three devices. However this time, I set my email accounts on my iPhone and iPad to "fetch manually" as opposed to pushing my email automatically. I also set the preference on my mac mail account to only check mail when I click on get mail, as opposed to automatically. Altogether, these measures would ensure that my acct isn't being accessed by too many different Devices at the same time. So far, they've all Bren working fine.

See these articles below for explanation:




My guess right now is that it's these bandwidth limits in concert with a Mail bug.

Yesterday my Apple Mail client was "locked out" all day due to this issue. I was having no problems on the iPhone. So, I restarted Mail, and I started receiving messages again.


I had this problem after sending e-mail with large attachments. Mail.app created new mailbox called Recovered Messages and kept downloading the large e-mail over and over again. This lead to the "Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure)". Lengthy description of similar symptoms.

I have solved the issue using steps described in Gmail support forum:

  1. Take your GMail account offline from Mail
  2. Delete the Recovered Messages folder
    • In my case the folder was no longer showing in Mail app, but it was still under ~/Library/Mail hiding its 10GB!
  3. Go to ~/Library/Mail/IMAP-<username>@domain.tld@imap.domain.tld/.OfflineCache
    • Note: use your username and account configuration
  4. Delete all data under .OfflineCache folder, do not delete the folder.
  5. Close Mail application and reopen.

You would need to wait 24 hours until Google's ban on your IMAP access expires. You can still use web interface to check you mail.


This article has a comment that worked for me:


The comment is toward the bottom and it's by Nick. It was at 5:19PM on 1-26-2010. It worked wonderfully.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.